(translated by Shulan)
For first-time students visiting a Iyengar Yoga school, apart from feeling curious about the various yoga props therein, many of them would also be puzzled as to why there are no mirrors in the studio.
Some of these new students could not help but ask, “Why aren’t there any mirrors installed in the studio?” We would explain, “There are mirrors. But just like the other props, we keep them in the props room and will take them out for use as and when they are needed”. More often than not, we can tell from the students’ look that they remain bewildered.
It is important to understand that whilst mirrors can help us correct our initial posture in a pose, they can at the same time be a source of hindrance and distraction to our practice.
How so? Think of your daily life. When you look at the mirror and spot a pimple sticking out on your face, how do you feel instantly? When strolling around a shopping mall, upon seeing a mirror we would often spontaneously pause, tidy our hair, straighten our tie, so on and so forth. Likewise, can you then imagine how such subconscious behavior can hinder and distract us from our yoga practice?
Yogacharya BKS Iyengar had once said, “Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within”.
To be able to go through such depth of experience in our yoga practice, we need to remove all objects from our daily lives which are sources of hindrance and distraction. We need to experience with the purist of our hearts, in order to connect our body, breath and mind.
If you find it difficult to practise without a mirror, you need to carefully assess whether the mirror is indeed an aid to you, or rather it has become an attachment.